Wonderland.

MNEK

This is just the beginning…

“I’ve enjoyed growing up in the industry,” MNEK tells me over the phone. “I’ve been able to really achieve some life goals and work with people I’ve grown up adoring.”

After nearly 10 years in the ‘biz, the Londoner is making his most assured solo pop-R&B work yet. A triple threat; the singer, songwriter and producer describes his time in the industry as an insightful journey. “I started when I was 14 so I’ve seen and been working in it for a long time. I saw when Spotify first came in and how it grew and became such a vocal part of the industry,” he says, his voice dipping into that silky smoothness of its baritone that we’ve all come to love. “It’s interesting, I mean it has become a bit of a numbers game, which is a shame as there’s not much room for genuine artist development from a label’s point of view. It has definitely been harder I think just because the model of how people are receiving music is changing too.” He stops to gently giggle, “But it’s gone beyond my wildest dreams! Now coming to this, my debut album… It’s one thing I wanted to conquer and a dream I’ve always had.”

If you’re not familiar with MNEK’s work, you must have been living under a rock, as the 23-year-old is responsible for some of your fave tracks ever. With huge collaborations taking place previously, he’s become known – quite rightly – as a creative force to be reckoned with. Adding such a diverse and interesting array of artists to his catalogue, it is clear to see he is constantly aiming to do something new. “I’ve enjoyed all my collaborations for different reasons,” he admits. “I don’t think there is necessarily just one really – I just want to say that being able to be successful alongside friends in particular. I take great pride in doing things with people I care about.”

But now is the time to embrace his own spotlight with his debut album (finally!) on the horizon. Dropping on September 7th, Language’s sound is definitely the boldest material MNEK has done so far, and dropping the brand new video for album highlight “Correct” today (which we’re premiering!), it’s further proof of the omnipotent artist that he has morphed in to. Throughout the rest of the album, he sings about love, lust and frustrations, over beats that perfectly match his usual sharp pop attitude: full of shuddering baselines and a vocal line that practically clasps its hands around the peak 90s R&B. It’s been a long time coming but an amazing experience throughout.“I’ve kind of been working up to it my whole life really,” he laughs. “Well, August 2016 onwards I’d say, but I mean so much of it is new material and new things that have just come up. So much of the process has been more about getting into things that inspire me and life experiences. I didn’t want to make songs aimlessly, I knew it had to be right. It was really cool to have that chance with my label as they were so accommodating at just allowing me do my thing and not really interfering too much.”

“On the new album I know more about myself and who I am and what I want to achieve. I think that plays a massive part and you can hear that it’s a lot more focussed than other things I’ve previously released,” he continues. “I’m excited for everyone to hear it and then gather their own option as the main thing really is that people can interpret it in their own way and really getting a sense of who I am from their own perspective. I’ve crafted it to flow between tracks and really tell a sonic story and take everyone into a sonic space when they hear it. People have heard my music through stuff I’ve co-written and collaborated with, so it’s a different thing when it comes to what I was to say exclusively for myself. It’s super exciting because there are different things to take from every song.”

After this big release, there will be so much more coming up. “I hope to tour and continue to perform music from the album. Possibly do another single from it and work on the next project! Regarding the limit, I think this is just the beginning for me…”

Photography
Lewis Vorn
Fashion
PC Williams
Words
Lauren McDermott
Grooming
Paul Rodgers
Production
Fernanda Dugdale
MNEK

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